Earlier this month the Plymouth Park Board accepted comments on the updates to the 5-year Plan. Several members of the public attended and offered suggestions.
Jenny Hollenbaugh and her husband are pickleball players. She said they have a consistent group of 47 to 53 people playing inside at the LifePlex. She said they use 3 to 4 courts there but when they play outside at the park they have to deal with boys tennis in the fall and girls tennis in the spring and in the summer there are tennis lessons and league play. Hollenbaugh said that limits the times they can play. While the group is appreciative of the courts that are for multi-use she is hoping for a more permanent solution. Pickleball has picked up interest and Knox, Bourbon, Rochester and Bremen have teams and league play.
Dave Gobel suggested the park department look at creating a facility like Newton Park in Lakeville with a central restroom and concession stand. He said they should consider acquiring new or reconfiguring land the park department already has for a baseball and soccer complex.
Gobel said last year on the B-League diamond there were 2 10-U teams, 2 12-U teams, 7 8-U teams all vying for space on that one diamond. He said there isn’t a 50-foot pitching mound, 70-foot baseline baseball field which is very popular. He said there are only 3 baseball fields in Plymouth that have mounds, everything else is a softball field and flat. Gobel said we have Bill Nixon Field but it’s pretty much used exclusively by the high school, the pony field and the B league field. He said there aren’t enough facilities for the amount of baseball being played let-along the opportunity to host tournaments.
Gobel said there is a need for soccer fields too and he suggested using a central restroom/concession stand for easier maintenance.
There was talk about the rec diamond at Packard Woods. Park Superintendent said there hasn’t been a men’s slow pitch league out there for at least 2 years.
Another gentleman asked about the scoreboard at the C league diamond. He asked if it could be repaired or if it needed to be replaced with a new one. Superintendent Mike Hite said in the past all of the scoreboards have been donated but that vendor is out of that business. He said he has 3 scoreboards in the budget for next year. The Superintendent then said he had just been contacted that day and someone has stepped up to donate a new scoreboard for C league that day. The same man also said the pool in the park needs to be replaced.
The next speaker was a woman who asked how many kids take swimming lessons during the summer season and Officer Manager Jenny Sickmiller estimated 250. She said Kennedy Park in South Bend is nice with a zero-entry water playground for kids from toddlers through elementary school. She also said swim lessons are very important and she wanted to make sure Plymouth would still have a pool that could offer swim lessons.
Another woman had some concerns with the splash pad in River Park Square. She has a 3-year-old and a 9-year-old and uses the city parks fairly often. She said there is a safety concern with algae film around the outside edge of the splash pad and her son slipped and hit his head pretty severely.
Superintendent Hite said about every two weeks they clean out a reservoir and bleach the concrete to remove the algae. He will direct the staff to continue to monitor the splash pad for the algae.
Mike Delp said he wanted to come and listen to the meeting, but he was supportive of Dave Gobel’s suggestions for baseball, and he too sees interest in pickleball growing and feels the park should consider creating some courts for them. He did suggest they both organizations begin a fundraising campaign to help fund the requested improvements. Delp was also supportive of the Greenway Trail and would like to see the distance extended.
Mayor Mark Senter asked about pickleball at the Webster Rec Center and Superintendent Hite said in the winter they tape the floor and put nets up so they can play indoors.
The Plymouth Park Board will take the comments and suggestions under consideration while working on updating the park’s 5-year plan.